We’re coming off a few months of trade shows in the group travel industry. From ABA to NTA to Go West … I’m sure all you want to do is crawl into bed and sleep for about a week. But to ensure you get the best return on investment from your show, the hard work has just begun. While you likely chose to participate in a given show for many reasons—to boost awareness, enhance your brand, and bolster key partnerships—ultimately you are responsible for driving revenue and maximizing ROI from the show. And your lead follow-up process is key to maximizing show ROI.
A booth visitor could have been primarily interested in your cool giveaway or he could actually have a need for your product or service. Unfortunately, you have no way of knowing who is in each category based on your raw lead list from show. You may also have a set of leads from a reception sponsorship or leads you have swapped with partners. The status of these leads is completely unknown.
Your follow-up process post-show must ensure you could assess each lead, categorize leads for follow up, and make proper contact with each and every worthwhile lead.
Assess and Categorize
With any successful tradeshow program, you will walk away with a large volume of leads. While this is a great problem to have, the first part of any leads follow-up strategy is to ensure you follow up with them in a timely manner. You must keep in mind that competitive exhibitors may already be contacting your leads, and the sale often goes to the first vendor who makes contact. You likely already have a process in place for categorizing or scoring your inbound leads. But first, certain information is needed to prioritize any inbound lead. If you don’t have the right information, the tradeshow leads will be miscoded as low-priority, and they won’t be followed up in a timely manner. Next, you need to distinguish the folks who stopped by your booth just for your cool swag from those who are actually good prospects. The only way to gain an accurate assessment of your prospects’ true motivation is to requalify each lead over the phone.
Tradeshows are still one of the most effective ways for companies to market their business and build brand. But they take work—before, during, and after the show. A great deal of the effort that goes into a tradeshow comes at the front end—planning all of the logistics for the show, deciding on the right message, designing the booth graphics, and actually working the booth. By the time the show is over, most people are just glad they made it through the whole show in one piece. Unfortunately the work is only half over, and it’s this last half that leads to revenue. By analyzing your follow-up process before the show, you could make sure you have the right resources in place to handle your tradeshow leads. And having the right follow-up process in place will help convert that list of leads into sales—resulting in maximum ROI for your show.